The Best Restaurants and Bars Near the American Museum of Natural History

Where to eat before or after on the Upper West Side
November 28, 2017
by Zagat Staff

The American Museum of Natural History has a seemingly endless collection of natural wonders and dioramas. It takes hours to really make a dent in the exhibits. Avoid the overpriced cafe fare inside before or after your visit with a trip to one of these neighborhood restaurants and bars.

Italian · West 70s · $$
Food 3.7 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.5

That “can’t-miss” namesake sandwich stars on the “limited menu” of “Carbone-on-the-cheap” Italian-American classics at this “relaxed” mini-chain from the Torrisi crew; some unimpressed with the “dinerlike” setups and “spotty” service call it “overhyped” , but the fact that it’s “always crowded” speaks for itself.
Barney Greengrass
Brunch · West 80s · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.0 · Service 3.7

An “essential” UWS “institution” , this circa-1908 “temple to smoked fish” “still reigns” with its “fabulous fresh bagels” , “silky” nova and other “quintessential” Jewish deli fare; on weekends service turns more “brusque” and the “cramped” space gets “chaotic” , but “so what?” – it's “part of the charm.”
Chinese · West 70s · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

“Intense” flavors and “innovative” preparations make for “unbelievably good” Chinese plates and “contemporary” dim sum (a “strong suit” ) at these “lively” hangs from Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng; “long waits” (no reservations) and “elbow-to-elbow” seating are the downsides, but “incredible” cocktails help ensure “everyone leaves happy.”
Shake Shack
Burger · West 70s · $
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.4

“Premium fast food” is the draw at this “widely syndicated” Danny Meyer chain, offering “mouthwatering” burgers, “rich shakes” and other “upgraded” eats (plus beer and wine) at a “manageable price” ; they’re “a magnet” for “legions of fans” who can create “hectic scenes” and “insane lines” , especially at the “landmark” Madison Square Park shack “where it all started.”
The Office NYC
Cocktail Bar · West 50s · $$$$

Tucked into The Aviary, an offshoot of the Chicago bar by Alinea’s Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, this rarified spot on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental serves high-end cocktails, ultra-vintage spirits and fancy bites (which can also be ordered as a playful tasting menu with drink pairings). The richly designed space has a clubby, old-time style, and reservations are recommended.